Liberty aiming to merge with Spanish sister company by early 2019
Insurer with 250,000 customers has yet to receive Commercial Court approval
The Liberty Insurance offices in Cavan. “Our offices in Dublin and Cavan, along with our call centre in Enniskillen, are not impacted by this merger,” Liberty Insurance says. Photograph: Alan Betson
Liberty Insurance intends to transfer its Irish assets to a Spanish sister company at the beginning of next year, it told policyholders in a letter, despite not yet having achieved approval from the Commercial Court.
Cavan-based Liberty Insurance DAC is planning to consolidate the insurance activities of its Irish, Portuguese and Spanish divisions into a single regulated entity in Spain. It expects the merger to complete in December 31st of this year.
The company, part of the US-based Liberty Mutual group of companies, sought court approval earlier this year for a cross-Border merger scheme. That application will again come before the court in October.
A spokesman said the advance notice, in the absence of approval, was in the interest of being “transparent” with the company’s customers.
“While the CPC Code requires Liberty Insurance to provide at least 60 days’ notice, we have decided that giving more than the statutory minimum is in the best interests of our customers and policyholders,” a spokesman told The Irish Times.
For customers, the merger of Liberty Insurance DAC and Liberty Seguros means their policies will transfer into the Spanish business. “Your information, including your personal information, will also transfer to Liberty Seguros,” the insurer said in a letter to its 250,000 Irish customers.
“Liberty Insurance will continue to trade in Ireland as the Irish branch of Liberty Seguros, and will retain the name Liberty Insurance. Our offices in Dublin and Cavan, along with our call centre in Enniskillen, are not impacted by this merger,” it added.
Liberty’s entry into Ireland came in 2011 when it acquired Quinn Insurance, some 12 months after it had fallen into administration. It employs about 400 staff here having conducted significant redundancy programmes in both 2015 and 2016. The Quinn business employed more than 2,700 people at its height.
Liberty, which has more than two million active policies here and net assets exceeding €217 million, is regulated for conduct of business rules by the Central Bank of Ireland. The Spanish regulator will become responsible for prudential regulation – a form of regulation requiring financial companies to hold a certain amount of capital.
Liberty says the move allows it to better serve its customers, “through the creation of a more efficient, well capitalised entity with access to a larger pool of resources”.